MAY 13, 2019
The dilemma of Mercedes’ domination
By Dan Knutson in Barcelona
Can Mercedes win six consecutive races? The team has dominated the first five grands prix of the season.
“First of all, I think you need to stay humble and keep both feet on the ground,” Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said during a media briefing after Lewis Hamilton won the Spanish Grand Prix. “We've had five fantastic performances now and five one-twos but we don't take it for granted. It's not just saying it, it's really the mindset that we have. The next two weeks are going to be a tremendous challenge for us.”
Wolff is not all that confident about the upcoming Monaco Grand Prix.
“We've not had the performance in Monaco in the last years,” he said. “Remember how strong (Daniel) Ricciardo was last year in the Red Bull. They were in a league of their own. We need to take one step at a time. The next race weekend looks challenging on paper. That is massively exciting for us to go there. I wish we could go there tomorrow. Everybody's working flat out to try to understand the car for Monaco and really be strong there. So let's look at the next race, which is the sixth, and try to do well there.”
This achievement is amazing for Mercedes, but does Wolff feel interest in F1 will dwindle with just one team dominating?
“You're not the first one to ask me that question but I'm in an awkward position,” Wolff replied. “Actually, I'm not in an awkward position. I'm in a pretty clear position, because we're really trying to perform as well as we can. We pushed the benchmark and we push the needle and we try to be better as a group every single day and every single year. This team coming together with the struggles that we had in the winter is just a super satisfaction for the team and the group and this is what my personal feeling is.”
Those are the feelings of Wolff, the boss of the Mercedes F1 team whose job is to win races. But Wolff is also a racing fan.
“Then on the other side if I take myself out from my Mercedes standpoint and all of the group, of course as a fan you want variability and unpredictability,” he said. “As a fan and as a spectator, I can relate to the sport needing to have a certain variability. But where we are, it can't be an objective for us. I also feel that it's bad karma if we were to really think that we are walking on water - then next weekend you're going to get one in the face for sure.”